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Author Topic: Boa Constrictor - up close and personal - C&C please  (Read 4075 times)

jebrady03

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Boa Constrictor - up close and personal - C&C please
« on: April 09, 2013, 10:21:50 PM »
I got into photography via my love of reptiles.  This is a little male Boa Constrictor that I produced, sold, and finally shipped out today.  I snapped a few pics before packaging him up and I liked a couple of them and I thought I'd share them and request a little C&C on the first.

FYI, proper color representation is ABSOLUTELY PARAMOUNT in the boa market so altering the colors into something that is not consistent with the look of the animal is absolutely NOT an option.  So, I'm looking more for C&C related to composition or any PP'ing that would fall within very strict ethical boundaries.



These last two are just more for fun than anything else.

Macro shot


100% crop of the image above...


Thanks!

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Boa Constrictor - up close and personal - C&C please
« on: April 09, 2013, 10:21:50 PM »

beckstoy

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Re: Boa Constrictor - up close and personal - C&C please
« Reply #1 on: April 10, 2013, 12:22:27 AM »
I love the shot and don't think you need to do anything to the colors.  This is actually the reason I use Canon - I've used both Canon and Nikon and feel that Canon is truer to color.  That's my opinion, and I know I'm not alone in this.  However, I guess that is always open to discussion.

That being said, I had a thougth:  You talked about ethics, and I completely respect that.  However, what about a little contrast?  I think your photo would be greatly served by simply adjusting contrast slightly or the black/white sliders in LR. 

What do you think?
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pdirestajr

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Re: Boa Constrictor - up close and personal - C&C please
« Reply #2 on: April 10, 2013, 12:24:15 AM »
A few suggestions for what they are worth.

1. Composition- I'd just really work with the angles and framing here to come up with more dynamic shots. Look at the entire right 1/3 side of your image, All I look at is that little weed popping up in the foreground. Now if that weed was the snake's food, that's a different story. Then the snake head is just kinda floating in the middle, with no more significance than the rest of the image. My eyes don't know where to look.

I want there to be something in the foreground in the bottom left of the image to balance with the flow of the head.

An even lower angle would also give a more unique perspective. I don't want to get that close to snakes, but it looks like you are fine with it, so you have the ability to show people something new.

I made a quick crop of your image to show a different visual flow. I wouldn't necessarily have cropped this shot square, but from the image you provided, it was the best I could come up with.

2. Focus- I'd make sure you nail focus on the snake's head to make it pop out at you. The top of his head looks like it is behind the plane of focus.

3. Contrast- It is pretty flat. Even the histogram I pulled looked like it was missing the whole right side.

The macro is cool, but again, it's a standard straight on shot. Play with angles and composition!

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jebrady03

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Re: Boa Constrictor - up close and personal - C&C please
« Reply #3 on: April 17, 2013, 09:36:27 AM »
I love the shot and don't think you need to do anything to the colors.
...what about a little contrast?


A few suggestions for what they are worth.

1. Composition- I'd just really work with the angles and framing here to come up with more dynamic shots. Look at the entire right 1/3 side of your image, All I look at is that little weed popping up in the foreground. Now if that weed was the snake's food, that's a different story. Then the snake head is just kinda floating in the middle, with no more significance than the rest of the image. My eyes don't know where to look.

I want there to be something in the foreground in the bottom left of the image to balance with the flow of the head.

An even lower angle would also give a more unique perspective. I don't want to get that close to snakes, but it looks like you are fine with it, so you have the ability to show people something new.

I made a quick crop of your image to show a different visual flow. I wouldn't necessarily have cropped this shot square, but from the image you provided, it was the best I could come up with.

2. Focus- I'd make sure you nail focus on the snake's head to make it pop out at you. The top of his head looks like it is behind the plane of focus.

3. Contrast- It is pretty flat. Even the histogram I pulled looked like it was missing the whole right side.

The macro is cool, but again, it's a standard straight on shot. Play with angles and composition!


Thanks for the suggestions!

As for contrast - it's actually interesting.  This is what a normal boa constrictor looks like (random image pulled off of a google search...



This animal has lots of contrast, obviously.

The animal in my pictures has actually been selectively bred for several different traits.  The first is what's known in the hobby as "pastel" - it's basically just a reduction of black that gives a washed out look.  The reason this is so popular is because as they age, most boa constrictors darken and the little black specks increase in number.  This trait is an attempt to minimize that to allow the color underneath to remain move vibrant and appealing as an adult.  "Pastel" is a polygenic trait in boas (like skin color in people).

The animal in my pictures is also exhibiting another trait known as "hypomelanism".  For those without a background in science, "hypo" means under, low, less, beneath, etc. (think hypodermic needle - a needle for injecting under the dermis, or hypoglycemia - low blood sugar).  Melanism refers to black pigment.  So, this animal has less than normal black pigment.  That sounds like the above trait, but it's very different.  The above trait just kind of washes the dark pigment away, the hypomelanistic trait actually removes it to a large degree.  It's especially noticeable in the latter half of the body - for instance, look at the first picture and at the lower left corner - those orange blotches (known as saddles) are generally surrounded by black but in a hypo, the black has been mostly removed and the color underneath shows through.  Hypomelanism is an incomplete dominant trait meaning when a "hypo" is bred to a normal animal - 50% of the babies will receive the hypo gene.

So, this boa is a pastel hypomelanistic boa.  It's kind of a double shot of black (contrast) reduction - so it should appear to be absent of contrast.

This animal is also hiding a trait.  What I mean by that is that it also has a recessive trait - albinism.  Albinism is simple recessive meaning BOTH parents need to contribute the gene to the offspring for the offspring to express the trait.  In this case, the mother was an albino and the father was a pastel hypo.  So, this animal received the pastel and hypo trait from dad (low odds of happening in one animal) and one copy of the albino gene from mom.  So, when this boy is bred in the future, if bred to an animal with one or two copies of the albino gene (either non-visual or "heterozygous" like my male or a visual albino aka "homozygous") he could produce pastel hypo albinos which are GLOWING pink/orange animals like this:



Again, the above image was just pulled from a google search.

So, adding contrast to the photo (I did play with it based on your suggestions) actually end up misrepresenting the animal and actually, in a negative way.  People want the washed out coloration and pay more money for it as it results in more beautiful hypo albinos (known as sunglows in the hobby).

scottkinfw

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Re: Boa Constrictor - up close and personal - C&C please
« Reply #4 on: April 17, 2013, 11:13:21 AM »
I love tack sharp, so my fav is the large eye.

That said, be sure to focus on the eye.  Perhaps a slightly larger dof.  More contrast also can be had with better lighting-flash? sunlight?

I agree with the ethics.  May want to use datacolor or passports for color calibration.

I agree with the composition- rule of 3's.

Keep up great work.
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Re: Boa Constrictor - up close and personal - C&C please
« Reply #5 on: April 17, 2013, 01:24:57 PM »
I love tack sharp, so my fav is the large eye.

I love that shot too.

gary samples

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Re: Boa Constrictor - up close and personal - C&C please
« Reply #6 on: April 17, 2013, 02:58:22 PM »
love the shots !
when I'm looking at photography flat lighting is a shot killer for me .

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Re: Boa Constrictor - up close and personal - C&C please
« Reply #6 on: April 17, 2013, 02:58:22 PM »

funkboy

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Re: Boa Constrictor - up close and personal - C&C please
« Reply #7 on: April 18, 2013, 06:09:02 AM »
If you're doing professional work that requires absolutely accurate color, I strongly suggest you read this:

http://colorremedies.com/realworldcolor/

You don't need to go through the whole thing (esp. if you're not making prints), but Jeff Schewe covers everything you need to know to "make it look like its supposed to" on your computer, on the web, and in print.

thepancakeman

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Re: Boa Constrictor - up close and personal - C&C please
« Reply #8 on: May 20, 2013, 12:44:39 PM »
To my eye, you definitely need a larger DOF on the first one.  By nature of the composition, you almost have to search to find the area that's in focus, which gives (me) the feeling that the whole thing is out of focus.

CarlTN

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Re: Boa Constrictor - up close and personal - C&C please
« Reply #9 on: May 21, 2013, 10:39:40 AM »
I love tack sharp, so my fav is the large eye.

That said, be sure to focus on the eye.  Perhaps a slightly larger dof.  More contrast also can be had with better lighting-flash? sunlight?

I agree with the ethics.  May want to use datacolor or passports for color calibration.

I agree with the composition- rule of 3's.

Keep up great work.
sek

Agree.

Snakes are not my favorite subject, but what's important is that you love shooting them.  The more pictures you take, the better you will be.  But try not to get too obsessed with one type of subject.

brett b

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Re: Boa Constrictor - up close and personal - C&C please
« Reply #10 on: May 27, 2013, 02:31:33 PM »
I love the shot and don't think you need to do anything to the colors.
...what about a little contrast?


A few suggestions for what they are worth.

1. Composition- I'd just really work with the angles and framing here to come up with more dynamic shots. Look at the entire right 1/3 side of your image, All I look at is that little weed popping up in the foreground. Now if that weed was the snake's food, that's a different story. Then the snake head is just kinda floating in the middle, with no more significance than the rest of the image. My eyes don't know where to look.

I want there to be something in the foreground in the bottom left of the image to balance with the flow of the head.

An even lower angle would also give a more unique perspective. I don't want to get that close to snakes, but it looks like you are fine with it, so you have the ability to show people something new.

I made a quick crop of your image to show a different visual flow. I wouldn't necessarily have cropped this shot square, but from the image you provided, it was the best I could come up with.

2. Focus- I'd make sure you nail focus on the snake's head to make it pop out at you. The top of his head looks like it is behind the plane of focus.

3. Contrast- It is pretty flat. Even the histogram I pulled looked like it was missing the whole right side.

The macro is cool, but again, it's a standard straight on shot. Play with angles and composition!


Thanks for the suggestions!

As for contrast - it's actually interesting.  This is what a normal boa constrictor looks like (random image pulled off of a google search...



This animal has lots of contrast, obviously.

The animal in my pictures has actually been selectively bred for several different traits.  The first is what's known in the hobby as "pastel" - it's basically just a reduction of black that gives a washed out look.  The reason this is so popular is because as they age, most boa constrictors darken and the little black specks increase in number.  This trait is an attempt to minimize that to allow the color underneath to remain move vibrant and appealing as an adult.  "Pastel" is a polygenic trait in boas (like skin color in people).

The animal in my pictures is also exhibiting another trait known as "hypomelanism".  For those without a background in science, "hypo" means under, low, less, beneath, etc. (think hypodermic needle - a needle for injecting under the dermis, or hypoglycemia - low blood sugar).  Melanism refers to black pigment.  So, this animal has less than normal black pigment.  That sounds like the above trait, but it's very different.  The above trait just kind of washes the dark pigment away, the hypomelanistic trait actually removes it to a large degree.  It's especially noticeable in the latter half of the body - for instance, look at the first picture and at the lower left corner - those orange blotches (known as saddles) are generally surrounded by black but in a hypo, the black has been mostly removed and the color underneath shows through.  Hypomelanism is an incomplete dominant trait meaning when a "hypo" is bred to a normal animal - 50% of the babies will receive the hypo gene.

So, this boa is a pastel hypomelanistic boa.  It's kind of a double shot of black (contrast) reduction - so it should appear to be absent of contrast.

This animal is also hiding a trait.  What I mean by that is that it also has a recessive trait - albinism.  Albinism is simple recessive meaning BOTH parents need to contribute the gene to the offspring for the offspring to express the trait.  In this case, the mother was an albino and the father was a pastel hypo.  So, this animal received the pastel and hypo trait from dad (low odds of happening in one animal) and one copy of the albino gene from mom.  So, when this boy is bred in the future, if bred to an animal with one or two copies of the albino gene (either non-visual or "heterozygous" like my male or a visual albino aka "homozygous") he could produce pastel hypo albinos which are GLOWING pink/orange animals like this:



Again, the above image was just pulled from a google search.

So, adding contrast to the photo (I did play with it based on your suggestions) actually end up misrepresenting the animal and actually, in a negative way.  People want the washed out coloration and pay more money for it as it results in more beautiful hypo albinos (known as sunglows in the hobby).


JB!! How have you been? Weird seeing you here!

I personally like your image. Having been in the boa breeding industry myself (yes...I'm that Brett, JB), I appreciate that the image is color accurate. I also like your choice of composition and depth of field. I do understand the critique of others who suggest a greater dof and getting a lower perspective. But, too much lower and you would reduce the viewers ability to see the saddles which is a must.

Are you using Lightroom? If so, which version? I think you should bump up the exposure just a bit. If you have LR4, you might want to increase shadows a bit and maybe bump the clarity slider to 20-30 which will add a little mid tone contrast...but not a lot.

What was your light source? I see square shaped catchlights in the snake's eye...2nd & 3rd images.

The image you attached from your google search was probably taken with a point & shoot. It's likely that sharpening, contrast, saturation, etc. were all added in camera...which is what P&S cameras do. So, your attempts to add contrast to an already crummy image file cannot be compared to adding contrast to a raw file.

Are you shooting raw? If not, please start. Or at least shoot raw + jpeg so you have a raw file to work with when the jpeg isn't accurate. Does your camera have picture styles? If so, what setting do you use?

How is Rose?

I hope you are well! I haven't talked to you in years!!


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Re: Boa Constrictor - up close and personal - C&C please
« Reply #10 on: May 27, 2013, 02:31:33 PM »